Category Archives: Peregrines

Looking Speckled

Cathedral of Learning chicks, 23 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Cathedral of Learning chicks, 23 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

At 29 days old, the peregrine falcon chicks at the Cathedral of Learning look different than they did a week ago on Banding Day.  Their juvenile feathers now give them a speckled brown-and-white appearance.

For comparison, here's what they looked like on May 16.

Cathedral of Learning peregrine chicks, 16 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Cathedral of Learning peregrine chicks, 16 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Even though they're older they still act like baby birds.  They sleep on their bellies and whine at their parents.  In the photo at top, two chicks shout at one of their parents while a third sleeps on her belly.  When they shout like this, one of the parents is perched above them out of reach.  😉

 

Meanwhile at the Gulf Tower ...

Three peregrine chicks at the Gulf Tower, 23 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)
Three peregrine chicks at the Gulf Tower, 23 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

... the peregrine chicks are a week older (35 days old) and already look quite brown.  When they're not sleeping or eating they spend time pulling white down from their bodies.

The transformation is amazing.  Here's what they looked like a week ago.

Gulf tower peregrine chicks, 16 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)
Gulf tower peregrine chicks, 16 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

The Gulf Tower youngsters will fly by the end of the month so come on down to Fledge Watch at midday, May 26-30, to see them getting ready to go.  Click here for date, time and location.

Keep an eye on the sky and check the Events page before you come Downtown!  Fledge Watch is a fair weather event so I will cancel if it's raining. (Ugh! Rain is predicted all weekend.)

 

p.s. Yes, there will be a Fledge Watch for the Cathedral of Learning peregrines -- probably June 2-6 -- but I haven't scheduled it yet.

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at University of Pittsburgh and Gulf Tower)

Gulf Tower Fledge Watch, May 26-30

Gulf Tower Fledge Watch, 31 May 2014 (photo by Kate St. John)
Gulf Tower Fledge Watch, 31 May 2014 (photo by Kate St. John)

Three young peregrines are growing at the Gulf Tower and will fledge before you know it.  It's time for Fledge Watch, May 26-30, 2017.

This year the Downtown watch will be a purely social occasion.  The Gulf Tower is so tall that we don't have to worry that the young birds will land in the street.  Instead we'll have a falcon fans get-together and an opportunity to educate the public about peregrines.

With that in mind, on weekdays I'll be at The Pennsylvanian entry -- 1100 Liberty Avenue -- where folks can stop by during lunch hour.  On Memorial Day weekend John English and I will be up at Flag Plaza where there's plenty of free parking and a good view of the Gulf Tower.

Here are the details.

When & Where on Business Days:

Fri May 26 and Tues May 30
11:30am to 1:30pm
On the sidewalk at The Pennsylvanian RR station area, 1100 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. See arrow below.

Gulf Tower Fledge Watch on weekdays (screenshot from Google maps with pin)
Gulf Tower Fledge Watch on weekdays (screenshot Google maps with pin)

The Pennsylvanian, 1100 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh,PA (photo from oncarrot.com)
Gulf Tower Fledge Watch on weekdays at The Pennsylvanian, 1100 Liberty Ave (photo from oncarrot.com)

 

When & Where on Memorial Day Weekend

Sat May 27, Sun May 28, Mon May 29
11:30am to 1:30pm.  Hours may be extended. Check back as the weekend approaches!
At Flag Plaza (Boy Scouts building), 1275 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Location of Flag Plaza (via John English on Pittsburgh Faclonuts Facebook page)
Location of Flag Plaza (via John English on Pittsburgh Faclonuts Facebook page)

 

Come for as little or as long as you’d like. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Hope to see you there!

p.s.  CHECK HERE or on the EVENTS PAGE for SCHEDULE UPDATES.
Fledge Watch is a fair weather event. It will be canceled if it's raining or storming.

 

(photo credits:  Fledge Watchers by Kate St. John. The Pennsylvanian from oncarrot.com, Location of Flag Plaza via John English on Pittsburgh Faclonuts Facebook page)

Peregrines at Two Bridges

McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Robert Strovers on Wikimedia Commons)
McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Robert Strovers via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license)

On Wednesday May 17, Dan Brauning and Tom Keller of the Pennsylvania Game Commission checked for peregrine nests at the McKees Rocks and Neville Island I-79 bridges.

 

McKees Rocks Bridge:

Four peregrine chicks at McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Tom Keller)
Four peregrine chicks at McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Tom Keller)

With PennDOT's help and a bucket truck, Dan and Tom found four nestlings too young to band at the McKees Rocks Bridge.  About 15 days old, they were so young that their sex could not be determined by weight.  Their nest site didn't have a place for the chicks to practice flapping before fledging so Dan and Tom relocated them to a safer location nearby. Their mother came close to defend them. Dan noticed that she's unbanded.

 

Neville Island I-79 Bridge:

Neville Island I-79 Bridge (photo by Robert Strovers via Wikimedia Commons)

At the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, Dan, Tom and PennDOT staff walked the catwalk all the way to the Glenfield side before they found the nest.  The nest was so far away that the five of us who came to observe the banding missed the entire show.  All we saw was the adult male peregrine strafing the bridge in the distance.

Dan and Tom found and banded four chicks about 21 days old: three females and one male.  The mother peregrine stayed near her chicks the whole time.  Even in this small photo you can read her bands (black/red 62/H), confirming that she's Magnum from Canton, Ohio in 2010.  (*)

Magnum protects her chicks at the Neville Island Bridge, 17 Mat 2017 (photo by Tom Keller)
Magnum protects her chicks at the Neville Island Bridge, 17 Mat 2017 (photo by Tom Keller)

 

(bridge photos by Robert Strover via Wikimedia Commons.  Peregrine photos by Tom Keller, PA Game Commission)

(*) p.s. Magnum has been at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge since 2013.

Three Female Chicks Banded at Gulf Tower

Female peregrine chick at the Gulf Tower banding, 16 May 2017 (photo by John English)
Female peregrine chick at the Gulf Tower banding, 16 May 2017 (photo by John English)

Yesterday afternoon three female peregrine chicks were banded at the Gulf Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh. It was quite a media event with videos from KDKA and the Post-Gazette, linked below.

Here’s the story in pictures.

Before the banding, Dori guarded her nestlings. This blind is always closed except on Banding Day.  Dori knows something is up.

Dori and three chicks at the Gulf Tower nest. This window blind is closed during nestsing season, only opened on Banding Day (photo by Kate St. John)
Dori and three chicks at the Gulf Tower nest, 16 May 2017. This window blind is closed during nesting season. It is only opened on Banding Day (photo by Kate St. John)

 

As the banders came out on the ledge, Lori Maggio took photos from the ground.  Here Dan Brauning, lead bander and Wildlife Diversity Chief at the PA Game Commission, holds up his hand so Dori can't get too close.

Dan Brauning holds up his hand so that Dori won't his his back. Banding Day at the Gulf Tower, 16 May 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)
Dan Brauning holds up his hand so that Dori won't hit his back. Banding Day at the Gulf Tower, 16 May 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

This chick waits patiently though she wasn't always quiet.

Female peregrine chick st Gulf Tower banding, 16 May 2017 (photo by John English)
Female peregrine chick at Gulf Tower banding, 16 May 2017 (photo by John English)

 

The process is set up like an assembly line to minimize the time the chicks are indoors.

Banding Day at Gulf Tower, 16 May 2017. Each chick awaits the next step (photo by John English)
Banding Day at Gulf Tower, 16 May 2017. Each chick awaits the next step (photo by John English)

 

Dan Brauning applied the bands ...

Banding one of the three female chicks at the Gulf Tower, 16 May 2017 (photo by John English)
Banding one of the three female chicks at the Gulf Tower, 16 May 2017 (photo by John English)

 

... then each chick got a health check from the National Aviary's Dr. Pilar Fish with assistance from Teri R.

Dr. Pilar Fish and Teri from the National Aviary check the health of each chick (photo by Kate St. John)
Dr. Pilar Fish and Teri R. from the National Aviary check the health of each chick (photo by Kate St. John)

 

You may recall that one unhatched egg remained at the nest.  The PA Game Commission collected it for routine chemical tests to provide a data point in the decades-long recovery of peregrine falcons.

Dan Brauning collected the unhatched egg so it can undergo routine chemical tests (photo by Kate St. John)
Dan Brauning collected the unhatched egg so it can undergo routine chemical tests (photo by Kate St. John)

 

As the chicks were returned to the nest, Dori and Louie dove and kakked.

Dori and Louie fly near the nest as the chicks are returned at th Gulf Tower (photo by Lori Maggio)
Dori and Louie fly nearby as their chicks are returned to the Gulf Tower nest (photo by Lori Maggio)

And then Dori resumed guard duty.

Dori guards the chicks from the perch above the nest (photo by John English)
Dori guards the chicks (photo by John English)

 

(photos by Kate St. John, John English and Lori Maggio)

Click on the links below for video coverage of the Gulf Tower banding on 16 May 2017.

From KDKA:

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/05/16/gulf-tower-peregrine-falcon-chicks/

 

From the Post-Gazette:

https://www.facebook.com/pittsburghpostgazette/videos/10155361012879826/

 

 

 

 

One Male, Two Females Banded at Pitt

Female peregrine chick, C6, shouts during Banding Day (photo by Kate St. John)
Female peregrine chick, C7, shouts during Banding Day (photo by Kate St. John)

Yesterday one male and two female peregrine chicks were banded at the Cathedral of Learning. All three are in good health and very vocal.  They were so loud they were nearly deafening!

Here's their story in pictures.

Before the chicks were retrieved, Tammy Colt of the Pennsylvania Game Commission laid out the bands, one set for males' small legs, the other set for females' larger legs.  The silver bands are unique 9-digit US Fish and Wildlife bands which cannot be read from afar.  The black/green bands can be read through binoculars or in photos.

The bands that will be used for male and female peregrine chicks (photo by Kate St.John)
A view of the bands for male and female peregrine chicks (photo by Kate St.John)

 

Wildlife Diversity Chief Dan Brauning shows how the silver bands interlock.

Dan Brauning shows Tammy Colt how the bands interlock (photo by Kate St. John)
Dan Brauning shows Tammy Colt how the silver bands interlock (photo by Kate St. John)

 

Meanwhile the mother peregrine, Hope, knows something is going to happen.  She guards and waits for the action to begin.

The mother peregrine, Hope, knows something is going to happen (photo by Kate St. John)
The mother peregrine, Hope, knows something is going to happen (photo by Kate St. John)

 

As Dan and Tammy approach the nest, Hope shouts to defend her chicks.

Hope shouts as Dan Brauning and Tammy Colt approach the nest (photo by Kate St. John)
Hope shouts as Dan Brauning and Tammy Colt approach the nest (photo by Kate St. John)

 

From Schenley Plaza, Kim Getz saw Hope and Terzo strafe the area and dive on the banders.

Hope and Terzo circle and dive at the banders (photo by Kim Getz)
Hope and Terzo circle and dive at the banders (photo by Kim Getz)

 

Each chick was collected in a drawstring bag. The chick is weighed while in the bag to determine its sex. Even at this age males weigh 1/3 less than females.

The chicks were transported in bags. Who's inside? (photo by Kate St. John)
The chicks were transported in bags. C8 is inside. (photo by Kate St. John)

 

The male chick, C6, waits and watches before his bands are applied. He was silent at this point, but not for long.

The male chick, C6, waits and watches (photo by Kate St. John)
The male chick, C6, waits and watches before his bands are applied (photo by Kate St. John)

 

As his black/green band is applied, C6 grabs the bander's thumb with his talons.  Ouch!

Ow! C6 grabs the bander's finger with his talons (photo by Kate St. John)
Ow! C6 grabs the bander's finger with his talons (photo by Kate St. John)

 

The first female chick, C7, was loud from the start!

Female chick, C7, shouts during the banding (photo by Kate St. John)
Female chick, C7, shouts during the banding (photo by Kate St. John)

 

The second female chick, C8, was temporarily quiet. Notice how large her toes are!

The second female chick, C8, shows off her long toes and talons (photo by Kate St.John)
The second female chick, C8, shows off her long toes and talons (photo by Kate St.John)

 

In less than half an hour the banding was done.  Dan returned the chicks to the nest.

Dan Brauning returns the chicks to the nest (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Dan Brauning returns the chicks to the nest (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

And Hope checked on her nestlings.

After the banding, Hope checks on the chicks (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
After the banding, Hope checks on the chicks (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

All's well that ends well.

 

(photos by Kate St. John, Kim Getz and the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Peregrine Banding Events: Today and Tomorrow

Dori feeds three peregrine chicks at the Gulf Tower, 15 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)
Dori feeds three peregrine chicks at the Gulf Tower, 15 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

Today, 16 May 2017, is banding day for the peregrine falcon chicks at the Cathedral of Learning (10am) and Gulf Tower (2pm).  These two events are closed to the public but you can come to an open event tomorrow.

The excitement begins today at 10:00am at the Cathedral of Learning when Dan Brauning of the Pennsylvania Game Commission goes out on the ledge to retrieve Hope and Terzo's three chicks.  They'll receive health checks and leg bands and be returned to the nest in less than half an hour.  UPDATE: 1 male, 2 females.

Hope feeds three chicks at the Cathedral of Learning,15 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Hope feeds three chicks at the Cathedral of Learning,15 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

This afternoon it's the Gulf Tower's turn at 2:00pm when Dan retrieves Dori and Louie's three chicks, pictured at top.  The camera is zoomed too close for this event so you'll miss some of the action but you'll certainly hear it on the falconcam.  As you can see below, there's a lot of nest area at the Gulf Tower that we can't see.  We'll zoom out the camera this week.

Ooops! The Gulf Tower falconcam will have to be zoomed out soon (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)
Ooops! We can't see the entire scene. The Gulf Tower falconcam will be zoomed out soon (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

UPDATE: 3 females at Gulf.

 

Tomorrow, with PennDOT's help and a bucket truck, Dan will band peregrines at the McKees Rocks Bridge (9:30am) and the Neville Island I-79 Glenfield Bridge (UPDATE! approximately 1:00pm, after lunch).

You're welcome to view the I-79 Glenfield Bridge banding from the park-n-ride below the bridge on Neville Island.  Click here for directions.

 

Curious about what banding is and why peregrine falcons are banded in Pennsylvania? Click here to read more.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at Gulf Tower and Cathedral of Learning)

Falcons Help Farmers

How Falcons Protect Vineyards (screenshot from CBS)
How Falcons Protect Vineyards (screenshot from CBS. Click on the image to see the video)

If you grow a crop that tastes good to birds how do you protect it?  Hire a falcon!

Last month CBS News featured a video about an innovative way to chase starlings out of a vineyard.  The falcon in the video was specifically raised as a falconry bird.  It's a hybrid gyrfalcon-peregrine.

Click here or on the screenshot above to see "How falcons protect vineyards" on CBS News.

Note: There are 15 seconds of promotional video ahead of the falcon piece.

 

(screenshot from CBS News. Click on the image to watch the video)

Pittsburgh Peregrine News, 9 May 2017

Feeding time at the Gulf Tower, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)
Feeding time at the Gulf Tower, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

News from Pittsburgh’s two “on camera” peregrine falcon families:

  • Dori and Louie + 3 chicks (G1, G2, G3) hatched 19 April at the Gulf Tower,
  • Hope and Terzo + 3 chicks (C6, C7, C8) hatched 25 April at the Cathedral of Learning.

 

The Gulf Tower chicks are three weeks old and growing their juvenile feathers.  Because of this they now have "faces" and pin feathers visible on the edge of their wings (above).

Are you worried that the parents aren't nearby because you can't see them on camera?  In Lori Maggio's photo (below) Louie and Dori are both looking at the nest on the left but you can't see them on camera because it's zoomed in.  No matter how widely we zoom the camera view, you'll never see Dori when she's perched on top of it.

Louie and Dori perch near the nest but you can't see them on camera, 3 May 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)
Louie and Dori perch near the nest but you can't see them on camera, 3 May 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

 

Across town at the Cathedral of Learning the chicks are two weeks old and very well fed. They're getting feather tracts under their down which makes them look as if they have lines under the white fluff.

Feeding time at the Cathedral of Learning, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera)
Feeding time at the Cathedral of Learning, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera)

Above, one chick is full so he's "excused himself from the table." Later he changes his mind and comes back for more.

Feeding time at the Cathedral of Learning, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera)
Feeding time at the Cathedral of Learning, a few minutes later on 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera)

Last weekend a reader asked if Terzo ever comes to the nest.  Yes he does. Often.  At the end of this feeding, Terzo arrived to shelter the chicks while Hope took out the garbage.

After the feeding, Terzo arrives and Hope takes out the garbage (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)
After the feeding, Terzo arrives and Hope takes out the garbage (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

You can tell this is Terzo by looking at the white patch on his face. Terzo's patch is all white and shaped like a heart.  Hope's is "muddied" by gray at the top of the white.

Terzo with the chicks after they've eaten, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo with the chicks after they've eaten, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

 

And finally, this Gulf Tower photo can teach us four things about young peregrines.

Four things to learn about peregrines, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)
Things to learn about peregrines, 7 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

  1. The chick who is still being fed is nearly full. His crop (in his throat) is bulging so much that it shows bare skin. Later in life his crop will still bulge when he's full, but it will be covered with feathers.
  2. Two of the chicks have eaten enough and are no longer hungry. #2 is standing by, posed like a downy Buddha.
  3. Chick #3 is so full that he's left for the opposite corner. Yes, the chicks can walk.
  4. Notice the two #4s by their feet:
    1. On the left, you see that the chick is resting on his heels rather than standing up on his toes like his mother does. This is normal for his age.
    2. The chick's legs and toes are pale yellow. His mother's are orange-yellow. Immature peregrines retain the pale color until they're old enough to breed.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at the Gulf Tower and Cathedral of Learning)

Pittsburgh Peregrine News, 2 May 2017

Dori feeds three chicks, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)
Dori feeds three chicks, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Here's news of Pittsburgh's two "on camera" peregrine families:

  • Dori and Louie + 3 chicks (G1, G2, G3) hatched 19 April at the Gulf Tower,
  • Hope and Terzo + 3 chicks (C6, C7, C8) hatched 25 April at the Cathedral of Learning.

At the Gulf Tower the chicks are old enough that they don't need to be brooded. Their parents are nearby but you usually can't see them on camera ... except in this photo.

Adult perched on the ledge (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)
Adult perched on the ledge (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

When peregrine falcon chicks are two weeks old -- May 3 at this nest -- they walk off the scrape.  These chicks have already begun walking (see below) so we'll try to zoom out the Gulf Tower camera soon.  If one chick "disappears" it's only because he walked an inch out of view and we weren't quick enough to zoom out.

The peregrine chicks are starting to explore at the Gulf Tower, 1 May 2017 (photo from the national Aviary falconcam)
The peregrine chicks are starting to explore at the Gulf Tower, 1 May 2017 (photo from the national Aviary falconcam)

 

After a disturbing start at the Cathedral of Learning, the adults are caring for three nestlings.  These chicks are smaller than those at the Gulf Tower because they're six days younger.

Terzo brooding three chicks, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo brooding three chicks, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

On Sunday April 30, Terzo was seen limping and favoring his left foot (shown below).

Terzo shows his left foot doesn't feel good, 30 April 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo shows his left foot doesn't feel good, 30 April 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Those of us who've watched falconcams for many years know that injuries like this occur fairly often and the parents cope. Yesterday Terzo was limping less, so he's getting better. If his foot heals nicely, that's great. If it doesn't, he'll compensate. Meanwhile, the chicks will reach the no-more-brooding stage this week and their mother will resume hunting.  Hope will help provide for them, too.

 

During yesterday's thunderstorm and Tornado Watch(!) all five family members huddled in the Cathedral of Learning nest.  Hope fed the chicks at the beginning of the storm, then everyone stood by and waited it out.

Terzo waits in the nest box while Hope feeds the chicks during the thunderstorm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo waits in the nest box while Hope feeds the chicks during the thunderstorm, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The Pitt peregrines wait out the storm, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
The Pitt peregrines wait out the storm, 1 May 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

You can see that Terzo, on the left, is clearly smaller than Hope. This male-female size difference is typical of peregrine falcons.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at Gulf Tower and Cathedral of Learning)

The Theories Are Worse Than The Furies

Hope sheltering three nestlings, 29 April 2017, 11:55a (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Hope sheltering three nestlings, 29 April 2017, 11:56a (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

So far so good.  The three nestlings at the Cathedral of Learning are all well fed and growing. Every day we gain more confidence that they'll thrive.

Meanwhile we're still puzzled why their mother, Hope, killed and ate the first-hatching chick as well as two of her four chicks last year.  We don't know the answer but we have many theories.  It reminds me of a famous quote from Flannery O'Connor in Habit of Being (p. 502):

"The Theories are worse than the Furies."

So who are the Furies?

According to Wikipedia, the Erinyes [also called the Furies] are ancient Greek goddesses from the underworld. They hear complaints brought by mortals against the insolence of the young to the aged, of children to parents, of hosts to guests, and of householders or city councils to suppliants.  They punish those crimes by hounding the culprits relentlessly and hitting them with brass-studded scourges.  Their victims die in torment.

Their most famous gig was to torment Orestes for killing his mother Clytemnestra who had an affair and killed his father Agamemnon. Orestes avenged his father's murder but created a really big mess (read more here).  John Singer Sargent's painting of Orestes Pursued by the Furies shows how awful the Furies can be.

Orestes Pursued by the Furies by John Singer Sargent (reproduction from Wikimedia Commons)
Orestes Pursued by the Furies by John Singer Sargent (reproduction from Wikimedia Commons)

The Theories can be relentless, too.

We have lots of theories about Hope but no data to confirm or disprove them. (Hope eats the evidence.) The only thing we know is that she has repeated the behavior two years in a row and it's so abnormal that we can find only a handful of similar incidents in all the history of peregrine nest monitoring.

We don't have an answer but we can make ourselves crazy.

The Theories are worse than the Furies!

 

(photo of Hope and chicks from the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh. Reproduction of John Singer Sargent's "Orestes Pursued by the Furies" from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original)